Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Let’s start with the numbers. The e-208 has a 50kWh battery that powers a 136bhp electric motor – enough to propel it from 0-62mph in a spritely 8.1sec. We managed 8.5sec on a wet test track. That means it’s comfortably quicker than a Renault Zoe and most versions of the Nissan Leaf, although not quite as nippy as a Kia e-Niro or Mini Electric. Like the e-Niro and Mini, the e-208 can struggle for traction at times. That’s especially true in the wet.
It also has an impressive official range of 211 miles on a full charge. While we are yet to put the e-208 through our Real Range test to find out what's easily achievable in real-world driving, the official figure is comfortably more than a Mini Electric or Volkswagen e-Up can manage, although the Zoe and e-Niro can travel even greater distances. Based on our experience driving it on the road, it should be capable of around 140 mainly motorway miles, although this figure would be greater on slower, less demanding roads.
It feels reasonably agile by electric car class standards, and while its steering doesn't stream much feedback to your fingertips, that's also true of all of the e-208's electric rivals. It's a very easy car to drive, though, and although its ride comfort isn't perfect – undulating road surfaces can make the car float and wallow slightly –it does a great job of smoothing off crumbling Tarmac. It’s far more comfortable than the firm Mini, better than the slight fidgety Zoe, and isn’t that far off the more expensive Kia e-Niro. We’d advise sticking to the small 16in wheels that come on Active and Allure models, though, the bigger 17in wheels of GT Line and GT don’t do the ride any favours.
As with all electric cars, the e-208 has something called regenerative braking. This just means that energy is harvested when you slow down, and fed back into the battery. Pressing the brake pedal increases this effect, but causes the pedal to feel curiously spongy compared with that of a petrol or diesel car; this can make it hard to slow your progress smoothly until you've got used to it. Still, it’s better than the Renault Zoe’s inconsistent brake pedal.